August 21, 2005 — The strategy was solid. Andy Wallace was leading the Generac 500 at Road America in the # 20 Thetford/Norcold car when he came in with just an hour remaining under green for a fuel only stop. The stratagem was that both of the Champion Audis could not make it to the end without refueling and the later they stopped, the more fuel they would have to take on, elongating their stops, and putting Wallace back in the lead. A yellow 16 laps later played to the Audi`s favor, and Andy Wallace and Chris Dyson finished second with the closest margin of victory in ALMS at Road America
“The guys gave me some fantastic stops,” Wallace said afterwards. “We had enough fuel to go to the end under green and the #2 Audi, in order to get out ahead of us, short fueled. If (Frank Beila) did not come out ahead of me, he was going to lose, so they rolled the dice. If there was not another yellow, he would have to stop again and our strategy would have worked.”
Chris Dyson started the #20 car third and kept the #2 Audi at bay, never running more than ten seconds behind the leader, James Weaver, who started on the pole and ran in first for the first third of the race. “The car was good and got better as we burned off fuel, but we had a bit too much understeer through the stint,” noted Dyson. He turned the car over to Wallace during a fuel, tires and driver change stop an hour into the race.
On lap 27, James Weaver ran wide into the gravel at turn eight, attempting to overtake a backmarker. “I got on the marbles and went a little slideways,” said the Englishman. He made his way slowly back to the pits for a new nose and thorough check-over that put the car four laps down. Butch Leitzinger got in the car and brought the #16 Lola home fifth in class.
“I drove as fast as I could and picked up as many positions as I could,” recounted Leitzinger. “The car was very good and we were in good stead with the leaders but circumstances put us back. The team worked very well as always. We had some problems in practice that we overcame and we will do what we always do and just pick up and attack the next race.”
The ALMS moves to Mosport, Ontario in two weeks time for the eighth round of the series. Last year, James Weaver and Butch Leitzinger started first and finished first: a summer repeat our viewers would not mind seeing again.
|Riely & Scott Mk III